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26th Nov 2018

Stephen Kenny confirms details of Ireland managerial succession plan

Robert Redmond

Stephen Kenny

“In August 2020 I’m taking over.”

Stephen Kenny was unveiled as the new Republic of Ireland under-21 manager in Dublin on Monday afternoon.

Kenny has left his post as Dundalk manager to coach the under-21 team, with a remit to oversee the development of Ireland’s other underage sides.

In 2020, he will succeed Mick McCarthy, who was presented as the new senior team manager on Sunday.

Kenny said that it was a “real wrench” to leave the Irish champions, where he helped the team achieve unprecedented success over the last six years.

The 47-year-old said he would only have left Dundalk for “something special” and that the offer presented to him by the FAI was simply “too good to turn down.”

At the Aviva Stadium, the first question posed to the former Bohemians and Derry City coach at Monday’s press conference was about his thoughts on succeeding McCarthy as senior team manager following the culmination of the Euro 2020 campaign.

Kenny chose instead to focus on his remit as the under-21 coach.

“I think the first thing is, obviously I’ve been announced today as the under-21 manager first of all. And it’s just a huge privilege to be named under-21 international manager and be here for the next four years really and beyond, I hope,” he said.

“Certainly, it’s a huge honour. I feel very, very privileged and I’m looking forward to getting to work. I can’t wait to get started.”

Following Martin O’Neill’s departure from the Ireland job last Wednesday, McCarthy and Kenny were considered the two most likely candidates to replace him.

On Friday evening, it was reported that McCarthy was set to succeed O’Neill.

It appeared as though Kenny wouldn’t be involved in the new setup until news broke on Saturday evening that he had agreed to become the new underage coach before succeeding McCarthy in 2020.

Kenny was asked when that agreement came about, and would he have taken the under 21 job without a promise of eventually succeeding McCarthy?

“I think it’s all hypothetical… Everything was just finalised on Saturday,” he said.

“A week ago, I couldn’t have envisioned this, of course, but it’s an arrangement that I’m perfectly happy with, I’m delighted with.

“It’s a great opportunity. And one that I’ll work extremely hard to do it justice. I consider it a huge honour to be appointed manager of the Ireland under-21 team.

“I’m delighted with the position I have been offered and I’m looking forward to the next four years and beyond.

“I’m excited to get started and work on developing and nurturing the next group of talented players.”

Kenny was then asked to clarify the details of the FAI’s managerial succession plan. According to the former Shamrock Rovers coach, he will become the Ireland senior team manager in August 2020.

“The decision has already been made,” Kenny said.

“If Mick gets Ireland to the Euros, I’ll be absolutely delighted. It’s great to take over (a team) playing with confidence.

“It’s great for me. It’d be a massive achievement for him to (qualify for a major tournament) again.

“His stock will be really high. It will be great for him and great for the country. That’s only good news.”

Kenny was asked once again to confirm the details of the arrangement. He said the succession agreement is “in writing” and it has already been finalised.

“In August 2020 I’m taking over (the senior team). That’s been decided… It’s in writing.”

So, McCarthy will be the Ireland senior team manager until August 2020, at which point he will leave the position to be succeeded by Kenny, who will play a key part of Ireland underage set-up.

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